AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for March 2019
Welcome to the March 2019 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series which aims to highlight what's new and noteworthy on the AppleVis website. Below, you'll find a selection of the best content posted to AppleVis by members of the community - from new app entries, to app updates, to the latest news and podcasts. For easier navigation, the major sections of this post are at heading level 3, and each individual item is at heading level 4.
New and Noteworthy App Entries
Actions by Moleskine (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Keep on top of everything in your head, whether it’s movies to watch or the details of your next big project. Designed for busy people who live by making lists to stay on track at work and home, the digital card based design is a clutter-free way to visualise everything that needs doing.
Collect your thoughts in a calm interface with simple natural language like “Water the plants every Saturday” then let Actions take care of reminding you automatically.
- Create Action Cards to note things you do not want to forget.
- Type naturally like “Post status report every second Friday” and Actions takes care of the scheduling, reminders and notifications.
- Drag and drop your Action Cards into custom Lists to organise them intuitively
- Colour code each list to further personalise your productivity system
- Use the Schedule to see all of the Actions coming up
- Swipe on Action Cards to complete them, delete them and set reminders.
- Add free-form notes to Action Cards for extra details like phone numbers
- Get push notifications, you can quickly choose reminders for the Morning, Afternoon, Evening or custom times
- Create repeating actions with advanced rules like “Call Sam every second Tuesday in June”
- Automatically and securely sync all of your Actions to the cloud instantly
- To keep your lists manageable, Actions will automatically suggest Action Cards that should be rescheduled or deleted
- Use the iOS Share extension to bring lists from other apps into Actions easily
- Use Siri to manage your actions for hands-free productivity!
Actions is a sophisticated app for getting things done, but it’s even more powerful if you have Timepage. With Timepage installed, your calendar events will automatically appear in the Schedule screen in Actions so you can see everything in context. In Timepage, you can see scheduled actions alongside your events. Master your calendar events and your to-dos with the ultimate productivity app duo!
Current Version: 1.5.4 (March 25, 2019)
Cardhop (iOS, US$3.99)
Until now, managing and interacting with your contacts has been a real frustration. Cardhop's magical parsing engine is incredibly intuitive, letting you search, add, edit, and interact with your contacts using a simple sentence!
Just type in "John G" and John's card will instantly appear. Or enter "Sarah Smith email@example.com" and Cardhop will add a new contact to Sarah's card. Or type in "call Michael S" and Cardhop will instantly start a phone call.
SEARCH, ADD, EDIT, AND INTERACT WITH YOUR CONTACTS LIKE NEVER BEFORE
- Tap on the Cardhop search field
- Type in the details for your contact
- That's it!
- A beautiful and simple contacts app, designed exclusively for your iPhone and iPad
- Instantly works with your existing iOS contacts, there's nothing to configure
- Groups: quickly toggle contact groups with a tap
- Notes: a convenient and powerful way to add notes to your contacts, helping you to strengthen your relationships
- Recents: quickly interact with your recent contacts
- Birthdays: receive birthday notifications, instantly see upcoming birthdays, and easily send a wish on their special day
- iOS widget to quickly access your favorite contacts
- Siri Shortcuts
- Full accessibility and VoiceOver support
- Dark and light themes
- And much, much more!
- Quickly interact with your contacts with the following actions: Call, Copy, Directions, Email, FaceTime, FaceTime Audio, Facebook Messenger, Large Type, Message, Skype, Telegram, Twitter, URL, Viber, and VoIP
- Simply enter an action or abbreviation (which you'll find in the Help Book by entering "?" or "help") followed by your contact's name and Cardhop will handle the rest
- Even better, some actions are flexible. For example, you can add a subject to an email by entering "email Kent Lunch tomorrow?" and the email including the subject will instantly appear, ready to go!
- Customizable quick actions are also available per contact, allowing for single-tap actions
Cardhop — the contacts app you'll actually want to use.
Current Version: 1.0.1 (March 30, 2019)
Sofa: Downtime Organizer (iOS, Free)
ORGANIZE YOUR DOWNTIME Create lists of books, movies, tv shows, podcasts, music albums, and video games to enjoy later.
MORE ORGANIZED THAN YOUR NOTES APP Keeping lists in a notes app can become an incoherent mess. Sofa’s organization brings sanity and flexibility to how you spend your downtime.
LISTS Keep your movies, books, podcasts, & more tidy
SECTIONS Group your lists into sections for even more organization
ACTIVITY A history of what you watched, read, & listened to
ADD THINGS FOR LATER You can come across an interesting book or movie at random times. Sofa is designed for these moments. Capture what interests you in seconds.
EASY ORGANIZATION With Lists and Sections, organizing your downtime items is straightforward. No more messy notes app to deal with.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS See a history of what you've watched, read, and listened to.
THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF DETAIL Get the synopsis of a book or release date for a movie. The right amount of detail, and nothing more.
IT’S OK TO TAKE A BREAK It’s not uncommon for work to dominate your life. Unfortunately, this happens at the expense of your personal life. There is a very real feeling of guilt that comes along with taking breaks. You feel like you should be working every chance you get. It doesn’t have to be this way.
It’s ok to take a break. It’s ok to work 8 hours or less per day. It’s ok to read a book instead of emails. It's ok to go for a hike instead of working on Saturday. Work isn’t everything. Be serious about your downtime.
Current Version: 2.7.1 (January 17, 2019)
Speecap (iOS, Free)
Speecap is a high-quality voice recorder. Speecap automatically detects and eliminates background hissing noise while recording. No need of expensive professional microphone. Easily make clean speech recordings with any cheap microphone.
- Automatic hissing noise cancellation
- Sound monitoring while recording
- Recording and playback in the background
- Share your recordings using Airdrop or cloud apps
- iTunes file sharing
- Slide Over and Split View
- Dynamic Type
Current Version: 1.7 (August 12, 2018)
Voice Dream Scanner (iOS, US$5.99)
Scan paper documents with the camera and recognize text. Listen using built-in text-to-speech. Save and export. Unlimited use: no subscriptions or additional charges.
State-of-the-art A.I. for OCR and text recognition: Fast and accurate, even in poor lighting conditions. Works entirely on device: No need for internet and your data stays private.
Export scans as plain text or PDF with embedded text to another app, or save them on your local device, iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive.
Works with Voice Dream Reader, our full-featured text-to-speech reader. After downloading this app, you will be able access the scanner directly from Reader and add scanned documents to your Reader library.
- Automatic detection of document edges for stretching and cropping
- Automatic detection of document orientation and auto rotate
- Automatic language detection
- Automatic image enhancement
- Batch mode for scanning multiple pages quickly
- Spoken words are highlighted in the text or the image
- Select text-to-speech voice and change speed
- Uses premium voices purchased in Voice Dream Reader
- Only languages using Latin alphabets are supported. It works all language supported by Voice Dream Reader except: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
Current Version: 1.0 (March 31, 2019)
WaterMinder® (iOS, US$4.99)
Get help with WaterMinder®, an easy, intuitive app to track your water intake. Based on your body weight (or your personal goal), WaterMinder® will remind you to drink water to reach your daily goals. By seeing current water fill visually and in percents you will instantly know how well you are hydrated!
Keeping track of your daily water intake needs and making sure your body is well hydrated is not an easy task in todays busy world. Let WaterMinder® help you!
- Apple Watch app
- Today Widget
- iMessage Stickers
- Clean visual view of your current water fill
- Simple, quick and easy to use interface (just tap on 1 icon and a menu opens with your options to log/track your water intake)
- Pre-defined cups for quick tracking
- Create custom cups (size, icon, color, drink type)
- Create unlimited custom reminders
- History and Graph, see your progress
- US oz, UK oz, L and ML units
- Earn and Share your Achievements
- Free guide to drinking water
Stay healthy, and drink more water - hydrate yourself!
Current Version: 3.7.8 (January 28, 2019)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Seeing AI (iOS, Free)
Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.
Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:
- Short Text - Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
- Documents - Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
- Products - Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
- People - Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
- Scenes (early preview) - Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
- Currency - Recognizes currency notes. (Requires iOS 11)
- Color - Identifies color.
- Handwriting - Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards
- Light - Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings.
- Images in other apps - Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.
- Photo browsing experience - Describes photos on your phone
Current Version: 3.0 (March 12, 2019)
Changes in Version 3.0
- Explore photos by touch: This new feature allows you to explore how objects in a photo are arranged. Select "Explore Photo" from the Scene channel, photo browser, or when recognizing photos from other apps. Then, move your finger over the screen to hear where objects are located.
- All new iPad support.
- Get faster access to your favorite features by customizing the order in which channels are shown.
- On the Person channel, you can now teach Seeing AI to recognize someone new, directly from the main screen.
- When recognizing photos from other apps, you will now hear the processing sound as in the main app.
Shortcuts (iOS, Free)
Siri Shortcuts deliver a quick way to get things done with your apps with just a tap or by asking Siri. The Shortcuts app enables you to create personal shortcuts with multiple steps from your favourite apps. Start from hundreds of examples in the Gallery or drag and drop to create your own.
Shortcuts includes over 300 built-in actions and works with many of your favourite apps including Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, Health as well as any app that supports Siri Shortcuts.
Use the Shortcuts app to:
- Get directions home, send your ETA and start listening to the news, just by asking Siri
- Add a Home screen icon that calls a loved one
- Make animated GIFs
- Make PDFs from Safari or any app with a share sheet
- Get directions to the nearest coffee shop in one tap
- Tweet the song you're listening to
- Get all the images on a web page
- Send a message including the last screenshot you took
- And so much more...
Shortcuts can be launched from the Today widget, from Search or by asking Siri. You can even add an app icon to your Home screen for your favourite Shortcuts.
Shortcuts opens up incredible possibilities to automate things you do regularly on your iPhone and iPad.
Current Version: 2.2 (March 26, 2019)
Changes in Version 2.2
- Create and access Notes in your shortcuts with the new Create Note, Append to Note, Find Notes and Show Note actions
- Pull out numbers from text using the new Get Numbers from Input action
- Tapping on the Library tab will now scroll to the bottom of your shortcuts list
- Get Travel Time now returns more details, including route name, arrival time and distance
- Bug fixes and improvements
Telegram Messenger (iOS, Free)
Pure instant messaging — simple, fast, secure, and synced across all your devices. Over 100 million active users in two and a half years.
FAST: Telegram is the fastest messaging app on the market, connecting people via a unique, distributed network of data centers around the globe.
SYNCED: You can access your messages from all your devices at once. Start typing on your phone and finish the message from your tablet or laptop. Never lose your data again.
UNLIMITED: You can send media and files, without any limits on their type and size. Your entire chat history will require no disk space on your device, and will be securely stored in the Telegram cloud for as long as you need it.
SECURE: We made it our mission to provide the best security combined with ease of use. Everything on Telegram, including chats, groups, media, etc. is encrypted using a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange.
POWERFUL: You can create group chats for up to 200,000 members, share large videos, documents of any type (.DOC, .MP3, .ZIP, etc.), and even set up bots for specific tasks. It's the perfect tool for hosting online communities and coordinating teamwork.
RELIABLE: Built to deliver your messages in the minimum bytes possible, Telegram is the most reliable messaging system ever made. It works even on the weakest mobile connections.
FUN: Telegram has powerful photo and video editing tools and an open sticker/GIF platform to cater to all your expressive needs.
SIMPLE: While providing an unprecedented array of features, we are taking great care to keep the interface clean. With its minimalist design, Telegram is lean and easy to use.
100% FREE & NO ADS: Telegram is free and will always be free. We are not going to sell ads or introduce subscription fees.
Current Version: 5.5.1 (March 28, 2019)
Changes in Version 5.5
More Privacy, Better Search and VoiceOver Support
- Delete any message on both ends in any private chat, anytime.
- Control whether your messages link back to your account when forwarded.
- Control who may see your profile picture.
- Watch GIFs and video messages without waiting for them to fully download.
- Search for individual stickers using words (based on the relevant emoji), enjoy improved GIF search.
- See enlarged emoji in messages containing only emoji.
- Use search in Settings to find options and get suggestions from the FAQ.
- Choose whether you'd like to sync contacts and receive notifications for all accounts when using multiple accounts.
- Rotate the screen to switch to full-screen mode when watching an autoplaying video with sound.
- Access the app using VoiceOver.
- Enjoy improved call quality.
Voice Dream Reader (iOS, US$14.99)
“Voice Dream Reader is hailed by many as the best mobile text-to-speech (TTS) app.” - Examiner
Supported Document Formats
- PDF, Plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, RTF, and Google Docs.
- Web articles.
- EPUB eBooks. (DRM-free books only. Kindle, iBooks and most commercial eBook platforms are not supported.)
- Bookshare Books.
- DAISY text-based books and audiobook.
- Audiobooks in MP3, MP4 or zipped MP3 format.
- Rich text and image support for all documents.
- One premium Acapela voice of your choice free with the purchase of the app.
- 36 built-in iOS voices in 27 languages are also available for free.
- 200+ additional premium voices in 30 languages from Acapela, NeoSpeech and Ivona available through in-app purchases.
- Correct pronunciation with your own pronunciation dictionary.
- All voices work offline and play in the background even with the screen locked.
- Tee-up a list of articles and play while you drive, walk or run.
- Spoken word is highlighted to improve comprehension and retention.
- Auto-scrolling and full screen, distraction-free mode to help reader focus.
- Finger reading. For beginners to read by at running a finger under each word.
- Pac-Man. Harvard and MIT developed speed-reading method for everyone to read at 2x speed with no loss of comprehension.
- High contrast and large font size for low vision readers.
- Optimized for VoiceOver, Braille and switch control.
Current Version: 4.8.0 (March 30, 2019)
Changes in Version 4.8.0
VOICE DREAM DOES OCR!
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, which is the ability to detect and recognize text in an image. With the purchase of a new app, Voice Dream Scanner, OCR features become available in Voice Dream Reader on the same device:
- Scan paper documents using the camera and save as PDF in your library. The PDF will work as if it contains text. Tap on "+" and "Scanner".
- Load existing PDF files with scanned images and recognize text in those images. After opening the file, go to "Document Menu" and tap on "Perform OCR".
Voice Dream Scanner is also a standalone app, which is useful for making a quick scan and listen using text-to-speech without saving, or saving to other locations.
The technology is state-of-the-art. It's fast and accurate, even in poor lighting conditions. It works entirely on device: No need for internet and your data stays private.
Voice Dream Scanner gives you unlimited OCR: No subscriptions and no additional charges.
Only languages using Latin alphabets are currently supported. It works all supported languages except: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
Recent News and Views
News From Apple
Apple Releases watchOS 5.2, Bringing the ECG Feature to Hong Kong and Europe and Adding Support for Air Pods 2
Recapping Apple's “It's Show Time” Keynote
Apple Releases macOS 10.14.4, tvOS 12.2, and New 12.2 Software for the HomePod Apple Releases iOS 12.2; Bringing Apple News to Canada and Four New Animoji
Apple Launches Second Generation AirPods; with “Hey Siri” Support, Wireless Charging Case, and Latency Improvements
Apple Announces New 10.5-inch iPad Air and iPad mini with A12 Bionic chip and Apple Pencil Support
Apple Announces March 25 Event: “It's Show Time”
This Month in Podcasts
This Month's Podcasts by Thomas Domville
- How to Find the Estimated Value of your Device with Apple GiveBack
- How to Hide Alert for Group Texts in iOS
AppleVis Unleashed March 2019: The Dribble Effect
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville, Randy Rusnak, and Mike Malarsie discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest. Topics featured in this podcast include:
- Apple Announces WWDC 2019 Kicks Off June 3
- Apple Announces New 10.5-inch iPad Air and iPad mini with A12 Bionic chip and Apple Pencil Support
- Apple's 2019 iMac gets some fresh chips, including an eight-core CPU
- Apple Launches Second Generation AirPods; with "Hey Siri" Support, Wireless Charging Case, and Latency Improvements
- Apple Launches 'Apple News+' Subscription Service for $9.99/Month
- Apple Card: Release date, cash back rewards and sign up bonus info
- Apple Announces Original Content Streaming Service, Apple TV+
- Apple introduces Apple Arcade
- Apple releases iOS 12.2 with Apple News Plus and support for new AirPods
- Apple is rolling out these 40 new features and changes in iOS 12.2 for iPhone & iPad
- Apple Music launches on Amazon Fire TV, coming to Echo for UK users soon
- Google Duplex for iPhone coming in a few weeks
- Latest Seeing AI app lets blind and low-vision users explore photos by touch, adds iPad support
- A Warm Welcome to the Newest Specialized Help Partner: Google
- Chirp for Twitter has been updated with the FlickType Keyboard for Apple Watch
- Tip: How to make a call on speakerphone with Siri on iPhone and iPad
- Tip: How to Enable Reader View in Safari Automatically on iPhone or iPad
AppleVis Extra 65: It's Showtime! Round Table Discussion of the March 25th Keynote
In this episode of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason is joined by Scott Davert, Tyler Stephen and Club AppleVis Member Tate Luck to talk about Apple's service oriented March 25 event, titled "It's Showtime". At the event, Apple unveiled updates to the Apple News and TV apps, alongside new subscription services called Apple News+ and Apple TV+. In addition they introduced a gaming subscription service called Apple Arcade and a new Apple credit card.
Quick Tip: How to Customize Contact Labels
In this podcast, Graham Langford gives us a quick tip of how to customize contact labels.
Get Organized with your Daily Chores Using the Microsoft To-Do for iOS
In this podcast, Humberto Avila takes us through Microsoft To-Do, which is a simple and intelligent to-do list that makes it easy to plan your day. Whether it's for work, school or home, To-Do will help you increase your productivity and decrease your stress levels. It combines intelligent technology and beautiful design to empower you to create a simple daily workflow. Organize your day with To-Do's smart Suggestions and complete the most important tasks or chores you need to get done, every day. To-Do syncs between your phone and computer, so you can access your to-dos from school, the office, or the grocery store or even while you're traveling around the world.
Microsoft To-Do on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-to-do/id1212616790
Simplify your Dice Rolling with the Ready to Roll - RPG Dice for iOS
In this podcast, Harrison Tutechluver takes us through the Ready to Roll - RPG for iOS, which is a blind and low vision accessible RPG dice manager. Also suitable for sighted players.
Ready to Roll - RPG Dice on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ready-to-roll-rpg-dice/id1445804669?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
Enjoy Interactive Fiction with Frotz for iOS
In this podcast, Humberto Avila takes us through Frotz, a repository and engine for playing interactive text based fiction games on iOS.
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts
Club AppleVis offers members and friends of our community a means of directly contributing towards the financial costs of operating AppleVis—thus ensuring that we can continue to deliver the information, help, and support that so many people have come to value and rely on over the past 9 years.
To learn more about Club AppleVis; the perks of membership; and how you can join, please visit www.applevis.com/club-applevis